Famous People with Liberal Arts Degrees

By Emily E. Steck

You don't need a STEM or business degree to be successful. Here are some pretty powerful and successful people who studied liberal arts in college.

  • Mitt Romney

    Before he was a presidential nominee, Romney majored in English at Brigham Young University and seriously considered going for his PhD. He eventually went to Harvard Business and Law School.

  • Anne Mulcahy

    The former CEO of Xerox—where she rose from the ranks of a sales representative— earned a B.A. in journalism and English at Marymount College, which has joined with Fordham University.

  • David Duchovny

    The X-Files star studied English at Princeton University for his undergrad, and Yale University for a MFA. He is working on an unfinished Ph.D.

  • Ted Turner

    This media tycoon majored in Classics at Brown University before switching over to Economics. He received an honorary degree in 1989 after being kicked out years prior for having a female in his dorm.

  • Clarence Thomas

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts cum laude in English literature.

  • Judy McGrath

    The former MTV chairwoman and CEO received her Bachelor's in English at Cedar Crest College. 

  • Michael Eisner

    The former CEO of Disney never took a single business course, but he did double major in English and theater at Denison University. 

  • Jon Stewart

    An alum of the College of William and Mary, Stewart studied psychology, all the better to analyze the blunders said by politicians and news anchors on The Daily Show.

  • Barbara Walters

    Before she became one of the most famous broadcast journalists in the U.S., Walters studied English at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

  • Stewart Butterfield

    The co-founder of Flickr studied philosophy at the University of Victoria and Cambridge.

  • Andrea Jung

    Former CEO of Avon Cosmetics studied and taught English literature at Princeton University.

  • Conan O'Brien

    The ginger late night talk show is a Harvard man, studying history and American literature while running the school's humor publication The Harvard Lampoon.